Equality Forum honors David Boies

by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Monday May 3, 2010

As the movement awaits the outcome of the federal lawsuit that could determine the future of marriage in this country, attorney David Boies reiterated why he and co-counsel Ted Olsen decided to challenge California's Proposition 8 in remarks he delivered in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 1.

"The state of California took away the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry; it put the full force of the state behind discrimination," he said at Equality Forum's annual International Equality Dinner at the National Constitution Center. "And that's a terrible thing."

Boies stressed the fight to overturn Prop 8 goes far beyond California.

"This is a civil rights fight-a fight for equality and a fight for the soul of our nation," he said.

Boies, who represented former President Al Gore before the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, the case that determined the outcome of the disputed 2000 presidential election, alluded to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and others who have suffered political and even personal fallout for their efforts to repeal Prop 8. Equality Forum honored Newsom in May 2009, but Boies said he and Olsen, who represented former President George W. Bush before the U.S. Supreme Court, have not made any personal sacrifices fighting Prop 8.

"We are not out there enduring physical violence," said Boies. "We're not facing political risks like Mayor Newsom."

Closing arguments in the federal Prop 8 case are scheduled to take place in San Francisco on June 16. As EDGE has previously reported, the case could eventually end up before the U.S. Supreme Court, but Boies remains optimistic he and Olsen have made an effective case against the referendum.

"There is no rational basis-none-for limiting marriage to straight people," said Boies. "It took an easy set of facts they had a bumper sticker that said marriage is between a man and a woman... and it's pretty easy to try a bumper sticker."

Boies vowed he and Olsen would continue the fight to allow gays and lesbians to marry.

"It's a fight for the heart and soul of what is America," said Boies.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.


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